Thursday, October 20, 2011

NFL Week 7 Picks

Picks time! Lots of QB changes this week. Also have to improve on last week's down performance.

Last Week's Record: 7-6
Year to Date Record: 58-32

San Diego Chargers vs New York Jets
The Jets are coming off a much needed win on Monday night against Miami. Problem is, even with that win, the Jets didn't prove much. The offense still only scored 17 points, and they didn't look good at all besides for one drive at the end of the first half. The defense looked alright, but had they been up against a more competent QB than Matt Moore, they would have been exposed. The first drive alone Moore missed two wide open WRs. The Jets have yet to beat a good team this year (sorry Dallas you don't count), and they are facing a good team in San Diego this week. The Chargers are also coming off a bye this week, so the whole west coast to east coast travel thing shouldn't be a problem. The big difference for the Chargers this year is that they have been able to get their running game going. The two headed attack of Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert is what was missing from the Chargers last year. Their defense is playing good as well. If the Jets want to prove they are for real, then this is the game they need to win. But the Chargers have had two weeks to prepare for the Jets, and the Jets are coming off a short week. Chargers win a close one.

San Diego 27  NY Jets 23

Chicago Bears vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This game will be played in London's Wembley Stadium on the pitch, so get your tea krumpets ready. Pinkies out! But seriously, these are two teams coming off of big wins last week. The Bears blew out the Vikings last week to keep them afloat in the NFC Playoff race. Jay Cutler showed that he can be a competent NFL QB when given time to throw the ball. Devin Hester looked like the Devin Hester of old, and the defense played remarkably well. The Bears still have a long way to go, but that was a start. The Buccaneers rebounded off a horrible loss to San Francisco by upsetting the New Orleans Saints and tying them atop the NFC South. I still don't know which Tampa Bay team is the real one, I think it is somewhere in the middle. They will compete to the end, but I still think they are a year away from being a real contender. Even though this is a home game for Tampa, it doesn't change anything. This one is a real toss up. But I think a young Tampa pass rush gets to Jay Cutler, forcing him into mistakes he can be prone to make. Bucs win a close one.

Tampa Bay 20  Chicago 16

Washington Redskins vs Carolina Panthers
Our first game with a QB change. After Rex Grossman's 4 interception performance last week, Mike Shanahan is switching to Jon Beck at QB. This is part of the reason why the Redskins were never really a threat to win the NFC East. A Rex Grossman or Jon Beck lead team won't take you far. And what happens if Beck doesn't perform? Does Shanahan go back to Grossman? The Redskins will have a lot of offensive concerns going forward if their QB situation doesn't get right. The Panthers are still competing but coming up short in the win department. Cam Newton made a couple rookie mistakes last week, including that horrible interception. But the Panthers should mimic what Mike Vick and the Eagles did last week against Washington. It worked and got the Eagles back on track, so it should help the Panthers. With so many questions facing the Redskins, I like the Panthers to win here.

Carolina 24  Washington 20

Atlanta Falcons vs Detroit Lions
The Lions were shot down back to reality last week with their loss to the 49ers. The 49ers defense shut down Matthew Stafford and held Calvin Johnson scoreless. Lions fans shouldn't panic though, they still have a very good football team. Nobody expected them to go 16-0, but you wouldn't expect an offense like the Lions to be held to 19 points. There are questions surrounding Lions RB Jahvid Best, who may miss this game and more with a concussion. It is a big drop off from Best to Maurice Morris. That puts more pressure on the Lions passing attack. The Falcons finally came to life last week in their win over Carolina. Michael Turner had his best game of the year, but that could be tough to top this week do to the Lions good run defense. This is a game where Matt Ryan has to break out of his funk that he has been in this year. The Lions weakness is their secondary, and that needs to be taken advantage of. But I think the Lions come out motivated after last week's loss and win at home.

Detroit 31  Atlanta 21

Seattle Seahawks vs Cleveland Browns
I apologize to the fans of these teams in advance, but to me, this is the Boring Bowl. Sure there are teams with worse records, but these two teams just don't do anything to at least get me really excited. The Seahawks are coming off a bye but still riding the momentum of their road win two weeks ago against the NY Giants. They should ride Marshawn Lynch in this one, because similar to Washington, the Seahawks have problems at QB. Charlie Whitehurst or Tavaris Jackson? Does it make a difference? Both are equally as bad. The Browns made changes during their bye week but they didn't help them beat the Raiders last week. Now, there best offensive performer Peyton Hillis may not play this week due to a hamstring injury. The team is high on Montaro Hardesty, but he isn't Hillis. Colt McCoy has taken a step back under new coach Pat Shurmur. You have to wonder if he is the QB for Shurmur's system. Ugly game here, but the Browns win here because they are the home team.

Cleveland 19  Seattle 16

Denver Broncos vs Miami Dolphins
TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW TIM TEBOW!!!!!!! That is all you will here about this game for the rest of the week and during it. Tebow gets his first start this year at QB for Denver. Denver fans wanted it, and now they will get to see what Tebow brings to the table: a weak arm, poor accuracy, and shaky pocket presence. Sure he can make some plays with his legs, but he has a lot of issues that I have always thought would keep him from being an NFL QB. If Tebow proves me wrong and turns out good, then I take back everything I have ever said about him. But he should make some plays here against a poor Dolphins team. The Dolphins should score here too. The Broncos defense isn't good either. Reggie Bush might have a good game here. With so much Tebow hype, I think the Dolphins pull of a mild upset here. The Broncos are too distracted.

Miami 26  Denver 24

Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans
Big game in the AFC South. With the Jaguars and Colts stinking up the joint, the division is for the taking for one of these two teams. The Texans have hit a bit of a snag since losing Andre Johnson and Mario Williams, losing two games in a row and falling to .500. Andre Johnson hasn't been ruled out yet, but I doubt he plays. And that's a problem for the Texans offense, which looked stagnant last week against Baltimore. They are going up against a pretty tough defense this week against Tennessee too. The Titans are also coming off a bye and have had two weeks to prepare for the Texans. Their main focus should be stopping Arian Foster. If the Titans do that, then Matt Schaub has to win the game with a suspect supporting cast minus Johnson. Titans RB Chris Johnson should be able to finally get going here. If Matt Hasselbeck gets time, he should be able to find holes in the Texans defense. I like the Titans here: At home, coming off a bye, better better defense. Titans win.

Tennessee 28  Houston 21

Kansas City Chiefs vs Oakland Raiders
Just when you thought the Raiders season was on life support, they pull a rabbit out of their hat. When Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone, hope was dwindling. But Tuesday, the Raiders traded for former Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who hasn't played a lick of football this year. And he is starting Sunday. Palmer is very much a pocket passer. He won't move around like Campbell did. Good thing the Raiders have Darren McFadden, because even though Palmer knows Hue Jackson's offense, it will still take some time to get back into game day form. It is also a good thing the Raiders are playing the Chiefs, who aren't the best of NFL teams. But they are coming off a bye, which may help their chances. Hopefully QB Matt Cassel and coach Todd Haley worked out their differences. But the Chiefs still lack weapons on offense with Jamaal Charles out, and I don't think they keep up with the Raiders here.

Oakland 21  Kansas City 17

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Arizona Cardinals
A rematch of the Super Bowl two years ago, but one team looks completely different. The Cardinals have looked dreadful all around this year. Kevin Kolb isn't justifying the trade the Cardinlas made for him in the off-season. The defense could probably use Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at this point. They are getting torched in the secondary. The Cardinals do have a guy on their team that plays wide receiver, his name is Larry Ftizgerald. The Cardinals need to find a way to get the ball to him as often as possible. The Steelers looked a bit weak last week against Jacksonville. They jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but scored no points in the second half and only won by 4. But the offense shouldn't find any problems moving against the Cardinals defense this week. Expect a big game from Big Ben and Mike Wallace. Steelers win here.

Pittsburgh 34  Arizona 23

Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings
Sure, this one is in Minnesota. Maybe the Vikings will keep this one close for a time because of their defense. But on offense, rookie Christian Ponder gets his first career start against the defending Super Bowl Champs. While I'm sure Vikings fans will be happy Ponder is in, it is very much a baptism by fire for Ponder. Expect a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson from the Vikings to ease Ponder's pain. The Packers just keep doing what they are doing. It was surprising to only see the Pack score 24 points against St. Louis. They might be angry about that, which isn't good news for the Vikings. Christian Ponder has to wait to get his first win. Packers here.

Green Bay 38  Minnesota 17

St. Louis Rams vs Dallas Cowboys
The Rams just can't catch any breaks, especially with their schedule. And now to add to their injury woes, Sam Bradford has a high ankle sprain. He is apparently going to play through it, but that can't be a good thing. The Cowboys have a strong pass rush lead by DeMarcus Ware, so expect them to be blitz heavy against an injured Bradford. But Bradford does have a new weapon to play with in recently acquired WR Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd knows Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels offense, so he should be able to fit right in. The Cowboys almost took out New England on the road last week. They shut down Tom Brady all game but couldn't do it on the last drive. Their weak secondary came back to haunt them in the end. But they forced turnovers on Brady, no reason they can't do it on Bradford. And if Tony Romo can't get going against the Rams defense, then he may not be the answer at QB for Dallas. But he should, and that is why I'm taking Dallas here.

Dallas 29  St. Louis 21

Indianapolis Colts vs New Orleans Saints
NBC probably loved this game when the NFL schedule came out. Now? It looks like and probably will be a blowout, or close to it. NBC and ESPN probably aren't happy with Peyton Manning right now. The Colts, to their credit, are at least staying competitive with Curtis Painter under center. Painter should be able to be semi-productive against a middle of the road Saints secondary. But he should also expect a heavy pass rush from the Saints defense with no run game to speak of for the Colts. The Saints are also probably not happy with their loss last week against Tampa Bay. It was the second week in a row they looked a bit shaky, and this time they couldn't come back against Tampa. But the Colts defense looks paper thin this year, and unless Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis just demolish Drew Brees, the Saints offense should pick the Colts apart. Saints in a blowout.

New Orleans 41  Indianapolis 21

Baltimore Ravens vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Another thriller on Monday night! Seriously, who picked the Monday night schedule this year? People really thought Jacksonville would be good this year? I didn't think so even with David Garrard. Now they have rookie Blaine Gabbert at QB, and he has yet to win a game this year. And now he faces a stellar Ravens defense. That's not a good sign. Expect the Ravens to stack the box and stop Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jaguars will try to stop Ray Rice, so that means Joe Flacco should have a good day. The Jags secondary isn't anything to write home about. But the Ravens currently look like the team to beat in the AFC, even with Flacco's sub-par play so far. But he has enough of a supporting cast to help him out, and that includes a win here. Jags keep it close because of the "prime time effect."

Baltimore 21  Jacksonville 12

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week's Record: 2-2
Year to Date Record: 14-9-1

Don't Gamble Kids! But here are my gambling picks this week!

Carolina -2.5 vs Washington: Always bet against a bad new QB

St. Louis +12.5 at Dallas: Cowboys aren't an elite team. Won't be a blowout.

Pittsburgh -3.5 at Arizona: Can't trust the Cardinals until they get going.

Green Bay -9 at Minnesota: Aaron Rodgers is 9 points better than Christian Ponder.

That's all she wrote for these picks. WWE Vengeance Preview should be up by 5.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

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